It is the unique combination of long experience and technological innovation which has made Bierens one of the leading gear manufacturers around the globe. For more than 70 years now, Bierens has consistently set the benchmark in the market.
“Today, we are a world leader and a pioneer,” says CEO Henk Meijer. “Our innovative way of production is copied now, but the scientific base is patented and cannot be followed. This is where we excel and it is what sets us apart from the market.”
Bierens was founded in 1880 in the center of Tilburg. In 1953, it moved to a second location outside the Dutch city where it is still headquartered today. “For the second time in 135 years, we are building a new location, which is quite a milestone in Bierens’ history,” sums up Mr. Meijer. “The move provides us with many opportunities because we will benefit from amazing innovative technological capacities. After the signing of the symbolic agreement between Bierens, Heembouw, BOM and the City of Tilburg, the new construction plans are now being carried out. In the middle of October last year the old factory hall has partly been demolished and the building preparations for the new hall have started. The foundation stone will be laid in March 2015.”
Since the beginning, Bierens has concentrated on the manufacturing of gears in all dimensions and for all applications – and its passion for the profession has always remained a trademark of the company. Its gears are used in bridges, the mining, maritime, steel and transport industry and on airports for huge radars.
“Well-known car brands come to us for their core components,” explains Mr. Meijer. “We also developed important parts for Formula 1 cars. Other crucial challenges are bridges, especially in the Netherlands, where we have a lot of water. 80% of the mechanical transmission in bridges is made by us. And while the demand for mobility will continue to increase in the future, the market for gears and transmission components will increase as well.”
The company, which is certified to EN 14001 and 9001 standards, offers its customers prototypes, large and small series as well as products in limited editions. “Due to the costs in our manufacturing process, the larger scale components are our main market,” states Mr. Meijer.
“We are simply too expensive for mass production. In 2002, we developed a new way of manufacturing gears. We work with a milling center using five axes, which means the machine does not determine the limits of the shapes we can make. It allows us to produce S-shaped gears which transmit 35% more power than regular gears, while using the same dimension. We do not use CAD/CAM methods because it takes too much time. Our aim is quick response manufacturing.”
Apart from this innovative and sustainable approach, Bierens sets new standards in terms of accuracy. The company rocks the market with the highest precision in gears down to two microns. This year production starts in Brazil and Asia, using local companies, according to the market requirements. 90% of the gears are exported – mainly to Germany and Scandinavia, but also to France, Africa, Eastern Europe, South America and Asia. To further internationalize the business, Bierens is currently looking for appropriate partners.
The company is going from strength to strength: in recent years, the number of staff grew by 50%. “Our goal is to increase turnover to 25 million EUR in 2017, which is a realistic size for a global player,” stresses Mr. Meijer. “Therefore, we need a strong market presence. We are dedicated to open innovations which means that we share our qualities with partners with complementing qualities. We have excellent production, manufacturing and technological skills. Our development will expand more quickly than when we do everything on our own. We are realistic and want to move forward. Our characteristic combination of technological and human development will boost our growth.”